Shedding New Light on Road Construction

Granite Construction increases its use of The Halo Light to keep workers safe on the job.

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A few years ago, Granite Construction was awarded the resurfacing and repaving project on I-90 a few miles east of Snoqualmie Pass. This stretch of road endures some of the harshest wear conditions of any Washington state roadway due to extreme temperature fluctuations and heavy truck traffic. A unique part of this project was that the east- and west-bound lanes were resurfaced using different paving techniques, so Washington State DOT (WSDOT) could study conditions over the next few years and determine the best system to use going forward. 

The project involved nighttime to early morning open road cracking, grinding and repaving of a major interstate highway at the top of a mountain pass. Heavy equipment moved slowly down the single closed lane, while dump trucks cycle back and forth from the asphalt plant. The trucks entered the lane in-between cones directly from the moving lane of traffic.

Using your head

Light stands were used on the main paving machine and  light towers were in place at the very beginning of the lane closure. The highway itself had no lighting and there was no ambient lighting, making this an extremely dark and dangerous environment and requiring the best and brightest personal lighting solutions. This jobsite presented a real need for workers to be able to both see and be seen while they worked around moving equipment, with the motoring public moving past at 60 mph just a few feet away.

Granite was looking for the best means to illuminate its workers. After the first field trial of The Halo LightIllumagear was invited back for a second. Granite placed an order for the units based on the results of the field tests. 

"Working on a roadway job site can be scary," says Bob Johnson, VP and director of safety for Granite Construction. "There are a lot of moving parts: the traveling public, heavy equipment, trucks traveling in and out of the work zone. It can be even more frightening at night, when workers are at a greater risk of not being seen. My workers feel safer when wearing The Halo Light, and I'm more confident that they are visible to others."

Almost every job type used The Halo Light at some time, including personnel directing and running the dump trucks, density checkers, QC inspectors and the prep cleaning crew. Different workers used different light modes depending on their specific tasks. The equipment director used the hard hat light Task and Halo modes, and the density checker most often used HI-Alert, while the QC and prep cleaning crews primarily used Task mode.

Using The Halo Light, workers were able to see their task areas better and said they felt safer by being more visible to both the heavy equipment operators and civilian traffic. Granite has since equipped multiple jobsites with the product.

DOTs recognize the benefits

Looking to improve the safety of their workers, more than half of the U.S. Departments of Transportation (DOT) have deployed The Halo Light, according to Illumagear CEO Max Baker. As of today, DOTs in 27 states are now using The Halo Light to help improve visibility on construction sites, with over 10,000 units now deployed on high-risk job sites.

“The growing adoption of The Halo Light by our country’s DOTs is good news for worker safety in construction zones,” says Baker. “It’s our mission to help keep workers safe on the job. As we continue to stress to the industry, traditional personal protective equipment is, in many ways, outdated. New personal active safety systems are the future, and we are pleased that our nation’s DOTs are embracing The Halo Light to protect their workers.”

The state of Ohio is just one example of a DOT recognizing the benefits of improving the safety of workers on road construction sites. More than 150 Halo Lights are currently deployed among Ohio DOT workers, and, to date, there have been no reports of any accidents or injuries involving those wearing the system.

Izzy Ciptak, Safety & Health Program Consultant with the Ohio DOT, says, “Some of the biggest safety concerns our employees face are not being able to see hazards and being struck by a motorist. The Halo Light provides light in dark conditions to increase employees’ safety and awareness, helps employees see and recognize hazards, and makes them more visible to motorists.”